history of ivory carving is short when compared with most
other arts in Japan. However, this exquisite okimono of a
sennin on horse exhibits unparalleled grace and beauty in
carved ivory sculptures. Although the style of this carving
reflects formal posture of the Chinese tradition, nonetheless,
the graceful movement and sublime expression are fully original.
Judging by the elongated shape of this highly stylized carving,
the impeccable polychrome scrimshaw work, simplified lines,
curves and contrast inter-woven in perfect balance, the carver
has succeeded in his own unique artistry.
at eight inches tall, the ivory has a pronounced grain, and
a light cream patina. This okimono is a fine example of the
extraordinary accomplishment of Japanese ivory carving. Though
we can confirm the superb ivory quality and artistic merit
of this fine piece, the signature Yoshiyama is unlisted in
our library of reference. Therefore we can only tentatively
date the piece at late 19th to early 20th century.